Frequently asked questions about studying in Canada.

In order to study and remain in Canada for a period of six months or longer, the first step is to get admission to a Canadian Designated Learning Institution (DLI) recognized by the government of Canada. Only designated institutions can be used to support a study permit application. Once an individual receives a letter of acceptance from a DLI, he or she may be able to apply for a study permit. Applications may be made online or by mail, from outside of Canada.

All new study permits are issued at a Canadian port of entry. An applicant who has submitted an application to a foreign Canadian Visa Office will be issued a letter of approval advising him or her to travel to a Canadian port of entry to have the study permit issued in his or her passport. A study permit should be issued for the duration of the person’s studies.

Applicants from countries requiring a Temporary Resident Visa (TRV) must submit their passports along with their study permit application to a Canadian Visa Office abroad. A TRV will be issued in the passport to allow such applicants to travel to Canada to have their study permits issued at a Canadian port of entry.

While a study permit authorizes international students to pursue their studies while in Canada, a Temporary Resident Visa (TRV) allows a person to enter Canada. Depending on the country of citizenship, an international student may need a visa for entry.

Applicants from countries requiring a TRV must submit their passports along with their study permit application to a Canadian Visa Office abroad. A TRV will be issued in the passport to allow such applicants to travel to Canada to have their study permits issued at a Canadian port of entry.

An applicant for a study permit will need to prove the following funds to support his or her studies in Canada:

Number of PersonsAll provinces except QuebecQuebec
Single Student Tuition for the first year plus $10,000 for a 12-month period (or $833 per month) Tuition for the first year plus $11,000 for a 12-month period (or $917 per month)
+ one family member $4,000 for a 12-month period (or $333 per month) $5,100 more for a person 18 years of age or older for a 12-month period (or $425 per month)

$3,800 more for a person under 18 years of age for a 12-month period (or $317 per month)

+ each additional family member $3,000 for a 12-month period per dependent child of any age (or $255 per month) $5,125 more for a person 18 years of age or older for a 12-month period (or $427 per month)

$1,903 more for a person under 18 years of age for a 12-month period (or $159 per month)

The following documents can be used as proof of funds:

  • proof of a Canadian bank account in your name if money has been transferred to Canada;
  • proof of a student/education loan from a financial institution;
  • bank statements for the past four months;
  • a bank draft in convertible currency;
  • proof of payment of tuition and accommodation fees;
  • a letter from the person or institution providing the money (including proof of employment, bank statements, income tax returns, etc, for the person providing the money); and
  • proof of funding paid from within Canada if the applicant has a scholarship or is in a Canadian-funded educational program.

A small number of Canadian government awards programs are offered to exceptional students each year. Similarly, a number of Canadian institutions offer needs-based entrance scholarships for international students of high academic distinction. Information can be obtained through the financial aid office of the individual universities and colleges.

The Ministry of Education in the applicant's home country may also have information on scholarships.

Generally, no. Proof of English ability is not required in a study permit application. Applicants may, however, need to submit proof of language ability in order to gain acceptance to a Canadian school, college, or university.

Paper applications are processed in an average of seven weeks, with processing times ranging from two to 19 weeks, depending on the visa office. Processing times are usually significantly lower using online methods.

Applicants interested in studying in Quebec need to first apply for a Certificat d’acceptation de Quebec (Certificate of Acceptance for Quebec, or CAQ) and then apply for a study permit. Since January 1, 2016, the application fee for a CAQ is $110 CAD.

There is a study permit exemption for short courses that conclude within six months or less. However, if a course is longer than six months, the potential student will need to apply for a study permit.

When assessing study permit applications, visa officers determine whether an applicant is a bona fide student. This is determined through a number of factors, including but not limited to:

  • The length of time the student plans to spend in Canada;
  • The means by which the student will support themselves while studying;
  • The student’s obligations and ties to their home country;
  • The likelihood of the applicant leaving Canada after their temporary status ends; and
  • General compliance to government regulations.

An individual may be refused a study permit if the visa officer reviewing their file determines that they are not a bona fide student. Reasons for refusal can include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • The visa officer does not believe the applicant will leave Canada after their status ends. This can be determined because of lack of ties to the applicant’s home country, the political/economic state of their country at the time of review, or if the applicant has overstayed previous temporary visas in any country;
  • The visa officer does not feel the applicant’s acceptance to a Canadian institution is genuine;
  • The visa officer does not believe the applicant has the means to support themselves while studying in Canada.

If an application is refused, the individual has two options. It may be possible to either re-apply with a fresh application or contest the decision with an appeal in court. Both of these options may take several months.

Yes. If an international student has a valid study permit and is studying full-time at a DLI, he or she may work both on- and off-campus without a separate work permit. Study permit holders are allowed to work for up to 20 hours per week during regular academic sessions and full time during scheduled breaks.  

There is an important exemption to this regulation: students enrolled in an English as a Second Language (ESL) or French as a Second Language (FSL) program are not authorized to work with a study permit.

An individual who has studied full-time at a qualifying institution for at least eight months may apply for a Post-Graduation Work Permit (PGWP) within 90 days of receiving the final marks. The study permit must be valid at the time of the application. The PGWP is generally issued for the same duration as the applicant's studies, but for a minimum of eight months and a maximum of three years.

An applicant may need to do a medical exam if:

  • he or she plans to remain in Canada for more than six months; and/or
  • he or she lived for six or more consecutive months in a country or territory designated as high risk for certain diseases during the year immediately before the date he or she wants to enter Canada.

An applicant may need a criminal record check if he or she intends to come to Canada as a student. If required, he or she will have to obtain a police certificate from each country or territory where he or she has lived for six or more months consecutively since the age of 18. Police certificates are required to determine if applicants have a criminal record. They also help visa officers make sure applicants are not a security risk to Canada.

Most post-secondary students may change their learning institution, program, and/or field of study without needing to apply for a new study permit. The same applies for post-secondary students changing their level of study (i.e. from a bachelor’s to master’s program). Please check the conditions listed on the study permit to verify whether the study permit restricts the holder to studying at a particular institution or program.

If a student transfers to a school, college, or university in Quebec, he or she will need to apply for a CAQ and, if necessary, a new study permit.

Primary students who are entering high school, as well as high school students who will move on to post-secondary education, must apply to modify their study permit. Students who are changing learning institutions must inform IRCC of their institution changes.

If a potential student plans to study full-time, his or her spouse or common-law partner may be eligible for an open work permit. He or she must pass a medical exam. An offer of employment is not required. This open work permit is appropriate if the spouse is accompanying the student but is not a student himself or herself. In the study permit application, the applicant should indicate that the spouse will accompanying him or her to Canada. The applicant could mention in the application cover letter that he or she want an open work permit for his or her spouse.

If the accompanying spouse wishes to study here, he or she should apply for his or her own study permit. 

Yes. Furthermore, an applicant may submit an application for a study permit for his or her accompanying minor children. This can be done when the applicants submits his or her own study permit application. A letter of acceptance from a Canadian DLI will not be required for accompanying minor children who intend to study in Canada.

If an individual is already in Canada on a study or work permit, his or her accompanying minor child may study without a study permit.

The age of majority is different in each province and territory, although it is usually 18 or 19 years of age. Anyone under the age of majority is considered to be a minor.

Yes, a potential international student can explore Canada as a visitor before studies begin. Individuals should verify whether they need a Temporary Resident Visa (TRV) to enter Canada. Citizens of certain countries require a visa to visit Canada. To verify whether a visa is required, click here.

No. A study permit application should be complete upon submission. If a document is missing, a visa officer may make a decision on the application without giving the applicant a chance to submit the missing document.

The age of majority is different in each province and territory, although it is usually 18 or 19 years of age. Anyone under the age of majority is considered to be a minor.

Unaccompanied minors wishing to obtain a study permit must appoint a custodian who will care for and support them while in Canada. Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) requires a notarized declaration, which has been signed by the minor’s parents in the country of origin and the custodian in Canada.

A custodian can be a family member, trusted friend or member of the institution which the minor is attending. For more information about finding a custodian, please contact the international student office of the institution where the minor child plans to study.

 

To find out if you are eligible for a study permit, please fill out a free online assessment form today.

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